As we made the trip down to Philly for the game yesterday, there were signs before the game that Hofstra might finally beat Drexel at Drexel since the 2000-01 season when both teams were still in the America East. First, the Dragons were missing their starting center Frank Elegar to a one game league suspension due to an altercation at the end of the Drexel - Old Dominion game on Thursday. Second, though the game was the CAA Game of the Week Telecast, the Dasks Center was nowhere near full, surprising for a Drexel home game (last year's game was practically sold out).
The game was classic Hofstra - Drexel. Hard fought, physical, and guard oriented. Drexel raced out to a 11-4 lead but Hofstra came back and took a 40-37 halftime lead as Antoine Agudio hit a 3 pointer at the end of the half. Agudio led all scorers at the half with 14 points. Drexel came back to take a 45-42 lead with 17:38 left. Hofstra though took over the lead at 46-45 with 16:04 left. Hofstra would extend the lead to seven, 62-55 with 8:03 left.
With 3:53 left, Hofstra had the lead at six 67-61 but Drexel would score the last six points of the second half with Bashir Mason tying the game with 1:03 left. On Drexel's last possesion of regulation, Dominick Mejia forced a wild shot and Hofstra got the ball with 11 seconds remaining and a chance to win. However, Loren Stokes as he drove the lane, passed up the shot and passed the ball to Agudio who missed a short jumper at the buzzer and the game went into overtime.
Drexel would score the first six points of the second half on two three pointers by Dominick Mejia and Bashir Mason to take a 73-67 lead. The teams would trade baskets and Hofstra would trail 75-69 with 35 seconds left.
Then the fun began. Agudio was fouled at that time. He made the first shot, but missed the second shot. The rebound went to Hofstra and Carlos Rivera nailed a three pointer to make the score 75-73. This is where Bruiser Flint made two crucial mistakes. On the inbounds play, with a timeout to spare, Chaz Crawford had trouble inbounding the ball. Instead of calling timeout, Flint left Crawford on his own and as a result, Drexel was called for five seconds. Hofstra got the ball back and Rivera was fouled shooting a three point attempt with 6.2 seconds left. Then Bruiser Flint received a technical foul call for arguing with the referee (it was warranted). Rivera then missed the two technical foul three throws. With a frenzied crowd loud as it could be, Rivera recomposed himself and hit the next three free throws. Drexel called timeout but Bashir Mason's off balance 25 footer went in and out and Hofstra amazingly escaped with a 76-75 win.
It could have been a potentially very ugly scene afterwards. Drexel fans were really hot after the way the game ended. Drexel fans and Hofstra fans that made the trip got into shouting matches. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed. It was truly one of the most bizarre finishes I had ever seen. Bruiser Flint really cost his team the game with that technical foul call. But give Hofstra credit for not giving up with 35 seconds left and down six.
Hofstra had all five starters in double figures led by Agudio with 19, but only 5 of which came after the first half. Loren Stokes had 17, Rivera had 15, Adrian Uter had 11 points and four blocks and Aurimas Kieza had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Drexel had also five scorers in double figures, led by Bashir Mason with 19. Chaz Crawford added 15 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Matt Stevenson came off the bench to add 15 points and was 3 of 3 from the three point arc. Kenell Sanchez had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Dominick Mejia, Drexel's leading scorer was held to 10 points, mostly by the defense of Loren Stokes. Mejia was held scoreless in the second half and scored only on a three pointer in overtime to get to double figures in points.
Neither team shot well from the free throw line, which is not a shock considering both teams regularly struggle from the free throw line. Drexel was 12 of 19 while Hofstra was 12 of 23. Hofstra had only 10 turnovers compared to Drexel's 16.
Hofstra moves to 7-3 in conference and 14-4 overall. Drexel is 6-5 in conference and 12-10 overall. Hofstra's next game is a big home game against Old Dominion on Thursday. Drexel is at UNC Wilmington on Thursday.